Layout 1
Published: 2017
No of Pages: 268
RRP: 29.95
Dimensions: 128x198 mm
ISBN Print: 978-0-9944297-5-9
ISBN E-Pub: 978-0-9944297-7-3
ISBN PDF: 978-0-9944297-6-6

Culture Heist

A much-loved cultural institution facing a cost-cutting government, a board dominated by the big end of town, and a management fixated on an ambitious building project. It’s a true story. Culture Heist lifts the veil on what goes on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Judith White worked there for 12 years and gives an insider’s account, with implications for art lovers and museum-goers everywhere. Culture Heist invites the broadest discussion to address the issues facing the arts in Australia and explore ways to protect its great public institutions.

“A visit to a great art gallery leaves one with as sense of indelible wonder. Judith White dances through the great times of AGNSW and warns us of its existential threats — dwindling public funding and testosterone inspired expansion plans.” Graeme Wood, philanthropist

“An insider’s account of how the self-interest of big business can strangle our key cultural bodies. A must read for all those who treasure the arts.” Colleen Ryan, former editor of The Australian Financial Review.

“The author, Judith White, is especially qualified to describe the commercialisation and corporatisation which is threatening the public arts sector. She was editor of Look, the Art Gallery Society’s magazine in 1998-2000 before becoming the society’s executive director for two terms — 2000-2008 and 2013-2015. As the author of Art Lovers: The Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1953-2013, Judith is well placed to draw important conclusions about what constitutes an enlightened public arts policy.” Hon David Levine AO, RFD, QC Member of the Council of the Art Gallery Society of NSW

“Judith White has written with firsthand experience and passion about the centrality of every society’s need for a vibrant artistic culture.” Professor Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW 2001-14.

Visit the Culture Heist Website

Click here for Judith White’s blog

Culture Heist has been the subject of a great many reviews and articles

“A rallying point for those who are alarmed by the way art museums are being transformed into corporate entities that neglect their historical missions and their core constituencies – with the predictable disastrous results.”

John McDonald, art critic, blog 7 May 2017

“A taut exposé of recent developments at the Art Gallery of NSW and other cultural institutions in Sydney … White is particularly acute in her dissection of the numbing effects of corporate mumbo-jumbo.”

Patricia Anderson, review in The Weekend Australian 13 May 2017

“A heartfelt, angry, passionate plea for art for art’s sake, not for the sake of corporations and money.”

Margot Anthony AM, Northern Rivers launch, 8 May 2017

“[Judith White] has provoked an uproar in the arts scene with a new book revealing how the Art Gallery of NSW management is in crisis and is ‘obsessed’ with its new grandiose gallery plan.”

Byron Echo 10 May 2017

“Organisations run on a certain amount of esprit de corps, a certain vitality… Judith White’s account of the internal workings of the Art Gallery of New South Wales over the last few years seeks to discover what this magical element is, and she recounts in this book the story of how easy it is to destroy.”

Dr Christopher Hartney 27 April 2017

Culture Heist … details painstakingly with how Sydney’s flagship gallery is in [White’s] view being held hostage to its stalled $450 million Sydney Modern expansion plan.”

Michaela Boland, The Australian 20 April 2017

“[The book is] highly critical of a broad shift she sees in our public institutions… White argues they are at risk of becoming branches of the entertainment industry.”

Michael Cathcart, Radio National Books and Arts, 9 May 2017

Click here to read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald – 1 March 2018.


About the Author

Judith White

Judith White was Executive Director of the members’ organisation, the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales, from 2000 to 2008 and again in 2014 and 2015, and is author of the Society’s history Art Lovers. Born in Lancashire, England, she holds two degrees from Oxford University, has worked in journalism and publishing and speaks Spanish, French and Italian. Cultural history remains her abiding interest and was the theme of the Society’s first-ever members’ tour to Cuba which she led in 2015. She lives in northern New South Wales.

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